Should Moderators Be Paid? Not If You Have A Strong Community
Years ago, I was the head-bozo of the European Counter-Strike League. If you’ve ever run any competitive internet event, especially for a youth audience, you know it’s thankless job at best, an abuse-endurance challenge at worst.
We had about 20 unpaid admins, all helping to referee matches and ensure the league kept running. I worked about 30 hours a week, others between 20 to 25. We endured constant abuse and did all our work during our free time.
None of us got paid. Why did we do it?
Everyone has their own reasons. Respect, recognition and power are the usual three. If people care about the community, they want to earn it's respect, be recognised and have power within it.
If your community is strong, you shouldn’t need to pay people to moderate your community. People will volunteer to do it. It’s only the weak communities that need to pay moderators. The strong communities have people volunteer to help out, the really strong communities let people apply to help out (all our admins had to apply – we were picky).
This isn’t limited to weird gaming kids. If your neighborhood has a strong community vibe, people are more willing to help out. If you don’t have a strong community vibe, nobody wants to help. The vibe is the cause, not the symptom. Build a community members care about and you can do away with moderators.